The Art-Colony 


The marble of Naxos isn’t (only) white.

The sculptor Ingbert Brunk has been living and working in Greece, on the island of Naxos , in the Cyclades, for fifteen years. His studio is situated in a Venetian fortress, built on the ruins of an ancient acropolis, high above the modern town. The setting is elevated in more than one sense, for, in the centuries following Venetian rule the fortress served as a monastery. In these surroundings - far from the bustle of the small harbor town - sculptures take shape that testify to the fascination which the Naxos marble, celebrated since antiquity, has exerted on the artist.
It was this white, crystalline and highly diaphanous marble which inspired the sculptor to begin with, although as time went by other varieties - tinted or highlighted by inclusions - found their way into the process of creation, and brought about a wide broadening up of artistic possibilities.
Ingbert Brunk learned to appreciate the diversity of the marble, and discovered a wide spectrum of shades and variations: from light grey through slate grey to black; soft tones of peach and salmon; a light golden yellow, reaching through a warm honey color into the brown tones. Either in its crystalline homogeneity, or traversed by veins and stripes, or enhanced with spots resembling mica-slate, this diversity inspires the artist to strikingly different sets of works, which all have in common a sensitive and balanced handling of form and perfection of surface.
The intimate presence of Antiquity is apparent not only in the choice of the material, but also in the classic simplicity of his "vessel-sculptures," which show affinities with the stone cups of the Cycladic culture. Through the virtuosity of the surface treatment, they unite the archaic vocabulary of form with calculated modern elegance. In composing his sculptures, the artist takes off from basic shapes like cubes, pyramids and spheres, carving out edges and smooth curves, uniting them into abstract compositions in a highly personal idiom of form.
Marble plates which seem to float in space also evoke associations with Antiquity, namely with ancient alabaster disks and their characteristic matte-white glow. These works - squares of white marble in the format of canvases - are honed thin and inscribed with fragile designs which appear by translucence. They are worked into the surface as sharp facets or gentle curves, in the shape of ellipses, circles and squares, creating simple ornamental patterns which, in resonance with light, acquire virtual transparence.
These marble pictures captivate by their lightness, dwelling somewhere between hardness and delicacy, serenity and movement, weight and immateriality. The artist expresses himself thus: "The symmetric bias of form changes itself through light into movement."
The endeavor to confer life to the marble beyond the coolness of its surface, to bring it to glow, becomes manifest in the group of works called "Leibchen," a German word meaning "little bodies" but also, in quaint regional speech, "little shirts." In these works the artist was inspired by the story of Joseph and his brothers, "in which the robe of Joseph is exhibited by his brothers as a proof of his death." A series took shape, dedicated to the representation of the garment, which the artist designates as "little bodies," for him a representation of the bodily envelope, stamped by individual fate and marked by individual life-experience.
In the shape of a somewhat biblical garment with spread-out sleeves, the "little bodies" hang loosely in space, their three-dimensionality barely apparent. The interpretations are varied: small, childlike "bodies," delicate and diaphanous; larger ones, less translucent, in which the internal structure remains hidden; and those which disclose cloudlike shadows, as of dried blood.
But in all versions, the light catching the finely whetted, nearly transparent borders lends the "little bodies" a discreetly shining aura. Besides such sets of works, in which the artist has dedicated himself primarily to exploring the possibilities of volume and surface, his curiosity has been especially engaged in recent years by works in marble which present characteristics more akin to "painting."
In these, the sculptor works with the concepts of "picture" and "frame," in compositions where the frame, as in a traditional painting, emphasizes selected parts of the marble plate, while three-dimensionality is called upon to create the "picture-" effect. The varied, colored inclusions running through the marble become here a pictorial motif. The artist tracks them through the stone, carefully uncovers them, and brings their pictorial potential to full development.
The "pictures" in the concave marble exhibit effects of depth as well as of contrast, revealing in their highly polished central field inclusions of brilliant quarzite, while the frame remains in matte, polished shine.
Crusty rinds, broken open by fissures, remain partially exposed, in off-centered position, contrasting with the smoothness of the marble frame. Superposed layers are cut through and careful worked to the surface to make them run in scaled curves diagonally to the frame. Characteristic of all these works is a deliberate restraint to spare accentuation. The framing itself is structured with great economy - appearing only fragmentally, or in the guise of finely honed stripes and polished borders. In this way, objects with pictorial character come into being - representing a conjunction of sculpture and of painting with a chisel."
The search for adequate marble plates and blocks, the discovery of the individual color spectrum and varied structures inside a brute piece - both presenting themselves as mere hints on the unworked surface - represent an essential stage in the creative process. Ingbert Brunk spends much time in the marble quarries and factories of the island, in a constant quest for what the large, sawed open blocks are willing to reveal about their inner life.
Colored bands and layers running through the stone transform themselves under the artist’s hands into multiple pictures, or into suites of pictures, into diptychs with pictorial fields disposed in mirror-image, representing a repetition in reverse of the uncovered patterns.
The sculptor also employs this marble, energized through inclusions, in the creation of fully plastic works where it becomes a decisive shaping force, the structure being conceived in dependance with the natural order of the layers and inclusions. These set directions in the sense of strengthening or disciplining of the lines of force, in order to achieve an additional dynamization of the surface.
The artist never works "against the stone. He includes the idiosyncracies of every piece into the working process; indeed, he makes it dependent on them. In this way, he creates highly aesthetic works in which sensitive planning and consummate craftsmanship unite in greatest harmony.
Text: Dr. Angela Nestler-Zapp
Translation: Ami de Grazia

Curriculum Vitae:

Ingbert Brunk

Born in Dannenberg, Germany 1960
Apprentice at Kubach - Wilmsen - Team, Bad Muenster am Stein 1978-80
Master of Fine Arts, Sculpture Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin by Prof. J. H. Lonas 1980-85
Studio Workshop Naxos, Greece 1984 to the present.

2001 Gallerie Aengeln, Lund, Sweden
2001 Kuenstlerhaus Edenkoben, Germany
2001 Gallerie Haritos, Athens, Greece
2001 Art Odissey Vorpal Gallery San Francisco
2000 Gallerie Moella, Shillinge, Sweden
2000 Gallerie Radicke, St. Augustin, Germany
1999 Kreisgallerie Dahn, Germany
1998 Install, Bad Kreuznach, Germany
1997 Gallerie contemporaire Gesves, Belgium
1997 Cordonhaus, Cham, Germany
1996 Bosch Gallery, Athens, Greece
1996 Culture Centre, Naxos, Greece
1995 Gallerie Ingrid Haar Moenchengladbach, Germany
1993 Culture Centre, Naxos, Greece
1992 Culture Centre, Naxos, Greece
1990 Gallerie am Buschgraben, Berlin, Germany
1988 Off Gallerie, Berlin, Germany
1986 Off Gallerie, Berlin, Germany

1998 International Bildhaussymposion Pirmasens, Germany

Group Exhibitions:
1999 Kunstmesse Interregional Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
1998 "Cycladic Manifest" - Kyklos Art Center, Mykonos, Greece
1998 Gallerie in Koernerpark, Berlin, Germany
1998 Culture Centre, Naxos, Greece
1997 Kunstmesse Interregional Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
1996 Cycladic Art Centre, Hermoupolis Syros, Greece
1996 Z1 Ruedersdorf, Germany
1993 Kunstfest Hargesheim, Germany
1984 Ackerstrasse, Berlin, Germany
1982 FBK, Berlin, Germany

Address in Germany:

Ingbert Brunk
Goethestr. 5
D- 55595 Hargesheim